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Marvel Comics of 8/4/2010, A to H, with Abhay (Part 1 of 3)

I have a fantasy that I’m sure is shared by many of you, and that fantasy is to walk into a comic book store and say, “I will have one of all of the comic books, sir.”  And in my fantasy, like in yours, I have red lipstick on, and I’m wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress from The Seven Year Itch.  I think we’re all on the same page.

So, I’ve had a bit of a day at work, and I thought to myself at its conclusion:  Today is the day for all my easiest-to-achieve, most unimpressive dreams to come true!

I’d go to a comic book store, and buy one copy of every Marvel comic released that week so I could write radical, awesome reviews of them.  People all around the world would hold hands and read them, in perfect harmony.  Then, a madman would rise in the East, and no one would be able to buy or sell anything, except those that had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name on them– the original number of the beast of course being 616, the same number as the Marvel Universe.  So, you know, it was a very carefully thought-out dream.

Reality sunk in about three minutes in, at an area comic shop: Holy shit, Marvel releases a lot of goddamn comics in a given week.  A LOT.  More than I can read in a single evening.  More than I can afford in a month, let alone week.  I’m only a lawyer in Beverly Hills– I’m not wealthy enough to afford comic books.  Maybe someday I’ll be an oil tycoon, a captain of industry, and I’ll be able to afford numerous Marvel comics, but until then… this week, I only made it from A to H– not even halfway through the alphabet.  Specifically, AVENGERS: THE ORIGIN to something called HIT-MONKEY (?).

Oh, with two exceptions: CASANOVA #2– I bought those comics the first time around.  If you didn’t– you probably can’t do better this week.  Essential comics.  And also, there was some Orson Scott Card comic in the E’s, but Orson Scott Card is an offensive bigot to me; I’m not interested in giving him any of my money, however indirectly– in general, and especially not on the day with such good news finally about Prop 8.

I’ve got– let’s see– 13 comic books here.  So, the way comics are written now, that’ll take, what, 6 minutes to read?  For anyone who wants to play along at home, I’ll post in small chunks as the night proceeds.  If anyone bought anything from I-Z in the alphabet, you’re welcome to chime in on the comments.  Probably this’ll be really, really boring, but… Oh well! One, I sometimes notice complaints that this site doesn’t do  “what came out this week” reviews often enough, so I thought I’d give those a shot (though I really don’t think I’m any good at that kind of thing).  And two, I haven’t written anything about mainstream comics in a while, and I like to try to do that every so often.

Oh, I should mention– I haven’t really read that many Marvel comics this year, so i don’t really know what’s going on in any of these books.  Will that matter?  Uhm… let’s find out….?


Avengers The Origin #5 of 5 by Joe Casey, Phil Noto, S & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne, Mayela Gutierrez, Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, and Alan Fine:   Okay, so I’ve obvously made a horrible mistake.

So, this seems to be a retelling of a single issue of the old Lee-Kirby Avengers from 1963, but instead of being 12 cents for a story that fit a single issue, this cost $4 and… What’s scary is this is labelled #5 of 5.  I don’t really understand how that could conceivably be possible.  You know how the Avengers teamed up because Loki screwed with them?  That somehow took modern comics, what, 110 pages to tell that story.  It took me one sentence:  “You know how the Avengers teamed up because Loki screwed with them?

My guess is that this is for people in bookstores, people who haven’t read a lot of comic books and want things severely dumbed down for them.  I suppose those people need comics, too. I would guess somewhere between 90 to 95% of the panels in this book are “widescreen” panels (which is to say, rectangular panels that go from one vertical edge of a piece of paper to the other).  That term “widescreen” was first adopted because the actual drawings in the panels were purposely done in a way to remind the reader of a movie.  Here, on the other hand– it just seems like Joe Casey and Phil Noto are afraid they might tell a story in an exciting way, by accident.  Look at this panel (sorry– my scanner finally died on me):

Why is such a boring drawing taking up so much space on the page?  I mean, in a perfect world, it’s nice if the size and shape of a panel somehow reflects the contents of the panel, the emotion of the panel, but … You know: I’m sure they were trying…?

Does Phil Noto work a day job?  Maybe he has a day job.  Or… well, it’s been five issues for him, so maybe he’s very, very tired.  One action scene takes place on the “Isle of Silence”, which is a nice way to explain why there are no backgrounds in those panels; I don’t know what the rest of this comic’s excuse is.  Dull compositions; boring panel layouts; I don’t want to sound mean here, but this drawing of the Kree-Skrull war looks like a particularly languid game of Galaga.  Cough Syrup Galaga.  Lil Wayne and MC Frontalot should totally team-up for an album called Cough Syrup Galaga— that should 100% be a thing, that exists in the world. But, yeah– geez, it sure looks like Phil Noto could be having more fun…

But … why is this what Phil Noto’s drawing, to begin with?  Setting aside the question of, you know, why does this comic exist, which … you know– I really love Lee-Kirby Avengers, so I’m maybe too biased to answer that.  But setting that aside– Phil Noto re-doing a Kirby comic, of all things…?  He seems more influenced by, I don’t know, Robert McGinnis than Jack Kirby.  Here’s a panel from the book of IRON MAN, THOR, the HULK and ANT-MAN, i.e. there of the most powerful characters in the “Marvel Universe”:

Maybe it was on purpose, that they wanted to go 180 degrees in the other direction as Jack Kirby.  Which… mission accomplished.  But– it just seems like there are other things he’d be better at– has he done a bunch of detective comics already that I haven’t noticed?  Single women renting out Apartment 3-G’s for sexy lady-adventures type comics…?  Do they make those anymore?  Sleazy pulp comics.

As for the story, the bad guy in the story is Loki.  As Loki is threatening to destroy all of Earth’s heroes, he falls through a floor that ants have eaten, into a metal tube.  When they open the metal tube, Loki has disappeared, off-panel, never to be seen in this comic again.  The end.  It took them five issues to get there…?  Okay.  For people who were following this for all 100+ pages– was that a satisfying ending for you?  Which part was the good part for you: the part where ants eat the floor off-panel, or the part with the very inexplicable metal tube…?  I really liked the metal tube in Woody Allen’s SLEEPER, but the metal tube in that movie was a machine that gave Woody Allen orgasms.  The tube in this comic book didn’t give anyone orgasms.  Or maybe it did– maybe that’s the Secret Origin of why Loki disappeared: he’s in Asgard, having orgasms. The Orgasms Cosmic.  Maybe now you know the rest of the story.  I hope Woody Allen orgasms in at least four of these comics.  If I have 16 comic books, and there’s a, what, 25% chance that Woody Allen will orgasm in any given comic book ever made, then statistics say that he should have an orgasm in at least 4 of the comic books.  All those years of math, paying off.

If you want a Joe Casey comic, you might possibly be better off with that OFFICER DOWNE one-shot he did for Image.  It’s this violence-gore thing.  I haven’t dug into that yet, but it’s sitting on my desk– sure looks like more fun than this thing.


Okay, well, that first review stunk, plus it took me an hour.  Oh man, I’m really going to have to go faster if I’m going to get this done tonight.  Probably, I won’t.  Probably this is part one of two or three or twelve or maybe that’s enough, just judging by my speed here.  I’m not just boring tonight, but SLOW.  Next up is AVENGERS: PRIME.  Oh, right, this is that Bendis and Alan Davis thing– okay…

Avengers Prime #2 of 5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, Javier Rodriguez, Chris Eliopoulos, Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and Alan Fine:  This seemed like a reasonable Marvel comic, though not the kind of thing I’m that into.  Iron Man, Thor and Captain America go to a fantasy kingdom– one of the Norse ones, but none of them are together.  Iron Man and Thor get into adventuers; meanwhile, Captain America tries to have sex with some random blue-skinned woman.

Captain America: Sex Tourist…? I’d read that.  Captain America’s near-death experience causes him to retire from a life of adventure, in order to travel the Marvel Universe, indulging in bizarre sexual fantasies…?  Captain America’s no Woody Allen but close enough…? One down, three more to go. Suspense. Though, you know, speaking-of, while we’re on a tangent, did you ever look at the website for International Boar Semen? What really fascinated me about that page is you can buy more than just boar semen and boar semen accessories– they have a Cafe Press t-shirt page. Is that real? I don’t even know if that’s real. You know: google. I don’t even know what to tell you.

Anyways: Alan Davis, everybody.  He’s not the worst thing to ever happen. I’m just not that into fantasy, sword-sorcery stuff, so this comic isn’t really for me. But there’s a couple cute-ish comedic bits, at least– most intentional; none as funny as Bendis writing magical spell gibberish, though, which I just find really funny for some reason. Just the image of any grown man coming up with wacky nonsense words… That just makes me laugh.

I’m a little confused that– I thought the whole idea of this comic was to see these three characters team up and have an adventure together…? That doesn’t really happen this issue. But it’s only #2 of 5, so maybe that happens in some other issue. Or maybe I was mistaken. Beats me. That matter to anyone?


Captain America #608 by Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, Rick Magyar w/ Mark Pennington, Dean White with Elizabeth Dismang & Frank Martin, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Marko Djurdjevic, Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley & Alan Fine:  This comic is some kind of– I don’t  even know.  Captain America, having problems, and what have you…?

This was a very well-received book, back before it got sucked into one damn crossover after another.  People don’t seem excited about it as vocally anymore, but maybe I just go to the wrong websites– I couldn’t guess.  The first page recap for this storyline, though, sure has a lot going on in it.  It really wore me out just reading the recap.

Basically, according to the recap, the new Captain America, who replaced the old Captain America, after the old Captain America died, even though the old Captain America is no longer dead, has angered the son of the man who killed the new Captain America, back when the new Captain America had been dead, before he was Captain America. And so, the son drugs Captain America, and the drugs make Captain America violent, so  Captain America has no choice but to track down the female bartender who slipped him a mickey on behalf of the son, only to discover that she is also a supervillain who…


Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s describing a plot that was in an Ed Brubaker issue of Daredevil, like, two years ago.  “Bad guy gives good guys drugs that make them violent“– wasn’t that a Daredevil plot?  I think it was because I remember that being the last issue of the Brubaker Daredevil I ended up reading (not counting some ninja story in the Nocenti-Aja issue…)

Anyways, the comic is mostly just boring besides the recap. There’s a decent fight scene, actually, though Captain America doesn’t have his shield or use that fancy gun, either. I wasn’t very interested by what was going on, but you know– I’m not the best audience for this kind of thing; plus: I haven’t been following the book… Do people care if Captain America dies if the Marvel Universe has a spare? Maybe; I don’t know– maybe that’s the fun of the book for people, having to find a reason to care instead of just relying on the assumption of caring. I don’t know. [Edited this paragraph a little since all I had in me last night was “I was bored by this”, which is especially crappy work on my part].

Except halfway in, one of the book’s three colorists becomes noticeable.  Most of the book’s nothing much to look at, but about halfway in, Bucky and his girlfriend are on a barge at sunset, and the colors suddenly jerk into a different style altogether.  It starts to rain, and I guess the way rain smears light interests the colorists in a way nothing in the book had previously.  Probably it’s only one of the three people, who hadn’t had time to do the rest…?  That’s my wild guess.  It only lasts, oh, two-three pages, but… That was the only thing that was interesting.  It still catches me surprise, how much colors have changed in comics; are still changing.  Of all the different areas of comics, the color is the ones that’s changed the most and changed the most often since I started reading comics…

I really like this panel on the right, though.  I like that expression– it’s one you’d see pretty often in old Marvel comics.  “I’m so surprised that I’m going to let flies go in and out of my mouth.”  The acting in this comic is not great, but it’s not great in a way that I like, at least.

After the comic, they jammed in another comic, an 8-page comic, NOMAD by Sean Mckeever, Filipe Andrae, Chris Sotomayor, VC’s Joe Sabino, Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and Alan Fine.  I guess the idea is to make people feel like they weren’t getting ripped off by how much this book cost, but I think that might have worked better if anything in the NOMAD comic had been even slightly fun.  Instead, Nomad fights a gang of homicidal gay-bashers, until retiring to a diner for a talking head scene that lasts 4 of the story’s 8 pages…? I didn’t understand what either of them were talking about, at all, though; maybe it’d have been fun if I had…?


Captain America: Forever Allies by Roger Stern, Nick Dragotta, Marco Santucci, Patric Piazzalunga, Chris Sotomayor, Jared Fletcher, Lee Weeks, Matt Hollingsworth, Damien Lucchese, Thomas Brennan, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and Alan Fine: Oh, I liked this one! I’m getting sleepy, so this one played off of my “I should really, really go to sleep” mood well.

Plus:  Roger Stern, you know?  Roger Stern was always welcome name to me, growing up.  I don’t know if he ever had his own series, made up his own thing, but his stuff always seemed a little more thoughtful to me than other people who worked for those companies.  This one…

It’s a comic book about race…?  I did not see that coming.

The comic begins with Bucky reminiscing about how he was part of a team of heroes in the 1940’s, the Young Allies, which had its own comic book series in the Marvel Universe, a racist series of propaganda comics put out during the war…?  That’s a pretty odd detail, the first of several.  (I’d never seen any of the old Jack Kirby – Joe Simon comics featuring the Young Allies, so these were all new Jack Kirby characters for me.  That never hurts. They’re the kind of Child Heroes “celebrated” by Grant Morrison in his Manhattan Guardian series, the high-point of the SEVEN SOLDIERS series for me, “Sex Secrets of the Newsboy Army“)…

Anyways, Bucky then starts investigating the mystery of some Asian dragon lady character, and in order to do so hops onto a plane with Jack Muldoon and Brenda Sue, two Texan cowboy billionaire stereotypes.  The comic then flashes back to a reference to the 1943 Zoot Suit riots, an incident involving violence perpetrated by white soldiers mostly on Latino youths, which… The comic doesn’t delve into the history, but… One of the big climactic moments is Bucky realizes that the Asian villain escaped from jail by fooling prison guards who couldn’t tell the difference between an Asian lady and a black lady…??

I have no earthly idea what the HELL this comic is trying to say, if anything, but I’m at least a little delighted that one of the 16 comics ended up at least seeming to be about “Race in America,” I guess. About ANYTHING. Roger Stern, tackling the big questions– I could see myself getting another one of these.  I probably really need to sleep, though.


So, let’s pause it here, and resume later in a separate post, or this post, or whatever.  Tomorrow, or whenever I get this going again, what do we have to look forward to?  Daredevil Black & White #1 (I’d have bought that one any which way; that is one great line-up of creators), something called Darkstar & the Winter Guard (which is apparently a comic book that has been published for the last three months– who knew?  No one.  No one knew), Deadpool #1000 (which is scary thick..? I think Michael Kupperman might be involved), Deadpool Wade Wilson’s War Massacre in Mexico: The Terrible Truth of Team X (I don’t know what words on this cover are the title), Doomwar (there’s been an entire Doomwar going on that I missed apparently), Gorilla-Man (something to do with those Atlas comics…?), Hawkeye & Mockingbird (someone at comic-book-resources-dot-com apparently likes it, according to a quote on the cover), Hercules Twilight God (the cover to this comic makes it look likes it was designed for a quarter bin), and this Hit-Monkey thing ( I really don’t even know what I’m looking at…?).

22 Responses to “ Marvel Comics of 8/4/2010, A to H, with Abhay (Part 1 of 3) ”

  1. Rambling response…GO!

    Smitty sez…Enjoyable. Thanks, AK!

    People wonder why comics have a dwindling audience. That first Avengers issue tells you why.


    I’m not necessarily talking about changing the status quo or anything like that – I just mean nothing happens. Things that used to transpire in an issue take a mini-series these days and then more often than not you seem to get some weird non-ending which is “designed” to leave more fertile ground for future creators. I mean, somebody give me an issue count on New Spidey Kraven issues vs. the original story.

    God forbid we give anybody closure. Have mercy upon us if something ends – actually ends! Like in those old books that went “Fin!” at the last page instead of continuing on and on and on.

    The only comic I really enjoyed which stretched over multiple issues for arcs lately was Ennis’ Punisher MAX. I loved it because even though it went issue to issue I knew it was gonna end and those dudes were gonna get massacred.

    I think what we’re seeing is a statistical problem. As print runs drop and drop and drop the publishers are more swayed by what once would have been considered blips.

    “Wow, a (relative) bunch of people bought that Hit-Monkey comic!”


    “We got any other monkeys in this dump?”

    “What if everybody got turned into monkeys? Or HULKS?”

    Oh, and I really enjoyed the flies in the mouth panel. That was nice.

  2. I might actually get that Allies comic. My grandma might have been one of the jailers. For her, there is la raza and then there are gringos. Asian…Indian…it don’t matter to her. Gringos. And they should all be in jail.

  3. Noto is one of those guys who is a terrific illustrator and a lousy storyteller. He should stick to covers and pin-ups, his comics are awful. They just sit there on the page.

  4. No Amazing Spider-Man #639? Do you consider that an ‘S’ comic?

    Also, no Electric Ant #5?

  5. I occasionally like to read comic reviews. I find most of the reviews on this site to be fair and passionate. I found these to be self-absorbed and mean-spirited. Also, who cares about your political beliefs? What does your support for the repeal of Prop 8 have to do with flying people in capes punching each other? Perhaps you should write for Marvel, since you have to infuse your politics into writing that has nothing to do with politics.

    There is some merit to the statement that some Marvel comics from the ’40s are racist. But judging things from the past by present standards misleading and unfair. Yes, you are far superior to anyone who has lived in a bygone era. Why point that out here?

    Finally, you seemed to like nothing you read. That’s fine, I didn’t like any of it either. Have you considered reviewing a book you like for your column? Like many people who complain all the time, you have a point. But who wants to hear it?

    You have a total and legitimate right to your opinion and your political beliefs. However, a comics review site is wrong time, wrong place.

  6. Who’s better than Abhay? Nobody.

    Well, maybe Jog. But it’s close.

  7. “I found these to be self-absorbed and mean-spirited.”

    Yeah, that’s usually the consensus, pretty much. Sorry to trouble, Jerry Smith, but I worry based upon your comments that I might have been unclear on a couple point.

    “What does your support for the repeal of Prop 8 have to do with flying people in capes punching each other?”

    Nothing..? It has to do with why I wouldn’t buy an Orson Scott Card comic, which has everything to do with his “political” beliefs, which in turn have everything to do with the news of the day. The whole point of the piece is “I’m going to buy every single thing from A-H” except this one particular book, so I had to explain why I wouldn’t buy that one particular book. Otherwise, the whole exercise wouldn’t make any sense, if I didn’t.

    “There is some merit to the statement that some Marvel comics from the ’40s are racist. But judging things from the past by present standards misleading and unfair”

    Yeah, I apologize if I was unclear here– I’m not judging the actual comics from the 40’s. In that Captain America comic, that’s an actual plot point! Bucky says “They made comics of our adventures” and Bucky himself makes the point that the comics were racist. Were the real ones in our universe racist? I doubt it– Kirby? I really doubt it. But the Young Allies comics in the Marvel Universe were crazy racist. Like, there’s a racist Sambo-y drawing of the black character on the cover of this old comic. Which… is really weird and funny to me, and was part of why I liked the comic. From a craft perspective, that comic is really old-fashioned, but for all the slick widescreen modern-iness of other books– I haven’t seen balls as big as that in any of them.

    I don’t agree with your point that we’re not allowed to judge things from the past– wrong is wrong. But that’s besides the point.

    So, yeah: I wasn’t making an observation of comics from the 1940’s. I’ve never seen those comics– they sound awesome. This was the actual plot of the comic. The comic itself kind of seems to be about America’s history of racism. Which– I thought was a cool surprise…

    “you seemed to like nothing you read”

    I don’t understand. I liked Captain America: Allies Forever (maybe not that title though), and I thought the Avengers Prime comic was reasonably fun– I’m just not a sword & sorcery guy.

    “you have a point. But who wants to hear it?”

    My mom.

    “You have a total and legitimate right to your opinion and your political beliefs. However, a comics review site is wrong time, wrong place.”

    Oh, I don’t know if I can agree with you there. Comics are a part of my life, as much as movies are, music is, the news I read, the food I eat, everything else. A comic review site is the right time and place to talk about everything.

    So, sorry to offend somehow, if I did, but hope this clarifies.

  8. I could have been nicer about that Avengers Origin comic though. You know: when the movie comes out, people who don’t read comics and need really simple layouts, simple storytelling– Marvel will be able to sell that comic to them, and make some money. It’s not the dumbest thing. It’s not much fun– but… I suppose I can understand some of the choices they made, at least. I mean, it still could be better, but… Eh, I could have been nicer there, probably…

  9. Jerry Smith:

    Abhay very often reviews things he likes — this time he’s trying something new, sticking to a theme, and going outside his comfort level. I think he should be applauded for that.

    Abhay is, I think, much closer to the mythical “new reader” for most of these Marvel titles than a regular reader might be, so I think his commentary has a ton of value. YMMV, but the nice thing is every author is identified at the beginning of the post, and if you don’t like a reviewer, you can totally not read them!

    I think this is great stuff, myself, and hopes he makes it to the end of H before the end of the weekend…


  10. “No Amazing Spider-Man #639? Do you consider that an ‘S’ comic?

    Also, no Electric Ant #5?”

    Oh dang, I must not have seen Electric Ant (I don’t really know what that is)– I don’t know where the shop I went to shelved Spider-man. Dang. There was a shelf of comics and I went by the shelf… I didn’t use a list, or anything.

    “Noto is one of those guys who is a terrific illustrator and a lousy storyteller. He should stick to covers and pin-ups, his comics are awful.”

    He did a war comic a while back that was supposed to be really good, but it got by me. I really honestly think he would knock a detective comic down. Or I’m sure there are a lot of genres he’d be a good match for. I don’t know if he’s done superhero comics before and he just wanted to stretch, see what that was like. Maybe he wanted to see if he could learn more about Kirby. There are all kinds of good reasons he could have had to pick this project. I just don’t know it ended up really being a match made in heaven. But… I don’t actually think there’s a wrong style for comics– it’s just about finding the right story, sometimes…

  11. “Were the real ones in our universe racist? I doubt it– Kirby? I really doubt it. But the Young Allies comics in the Marvel Universe were crazy racist. Like, there’s a racist Sambo-y drawing of the black character on the cover of this old comic.”

    I’ve never actually read any of those old Young Allies comics, but I’ve seen some covers and art, and that’s totally how the black character was drawn. His name was Whitewash Jones! The artists weren’t so kind in their depictions of Asians, either, as I’m sure you can imagine.

  12. Hooray for the Abhay! Best comics critic on the interwebs!

  13. […] Aronson on Away from the Shop #3: Jeff Talks Inception, Golgo 13, and (Mostly) Non-ComicsRudi on Marvel Comics of 8/4/2010, A to H, with Abhay (Part 1 of ?)CBrown on Marvel Comics of 8/4/2010, A to H, with Abhay (Part 1 of ?)John Pontoon on Hibbs is a […]

  14. Electric Ant is (was?) a five-issue adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story. They expanded the heck out of the original story to get five issues. I don’t know why.

  15. Hey, alt-text!

  16. Brilliant. “If you’re so smart why aren’t you rich??”

  17. […] ABHAY OH FRABJOUS DAY DEPT: Abhay Khosla went nuts with a three part review of a good chunk of Marvel's output in the last week, and (almost) lives to tell the […]

  18. lol,I am searching for my love,this post is very useful.

  19. Enjoying the reviews! I did some of my own – outside of the A-H spectrum – over at http://www.surfingthebleed.blogspot.com where I do weekly reviews.

    Also, did you ever review Casanova in the past? I’d be interested in reading that.

  20. “Also, did you ever review Casanova in the past?”

    Oh, Casanova was well underway when I started writing here, but volume 2 came up briefly– http://tinyurl.com/28p7ua8, as part of a longer thing about characters rejecting their narratives.

    The issue that’s out now though– the first half of it is one of my favorite issues of that entire run. For reviews of the issues out now, you’d be better off with Chris Butcher– he did a few short reviews a couple years ago about the first handful of issues of Casanova, that I remember as being good.

  21. I love seeing girls made to take so much excitement that it hurts.

  22. Hi there. I found your site via Google and your post looks very interesting for me.

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